Belfast Telegraph

U2 fund nationwide music scheme

Charity begins at home for rock group U2 after they forked out five million euro to ensure 10,000 youngsters learn music.

The band stumped up the money to bring a pilot scheme nationwide and search for hidden talent.

U2 guitarist The Edge said it was exciting that the group's millions would give so many children an opportunity in music.

"Music is - obviously - the world to us and we were lucky enough to have it at school," he said. "But even if you choose not to make it your job, learning music is proven to have a hugely positive effect on society in general. It's exciting that thousands of Ireland's children and young people will have the opportunity for tuition."

Money from U2, and two million euro from the Ireland Funds, ensures the Music Generation project has enough money to run until 2014.

It is hoped 12 schemes will be set up in separate counties in the next three years teaching thousands of children how to play an instrument or sing.

Music Generation has issued a March 31 deadline for schools, youth clubs, parishes, community groups, councils and other organisations to apply for funding to set up music classes. Some 400 expressions of interest have already been made in relation to classes and teaching.

Rosaleen Molloy, Music Generation director, said the pilot project in Donegal and Ballyfermot, Dublin, was in danger of stalling until the band stepped in.

"U2 have done something very blatant about it and provided the funding," Ms Molloy said. "U2 have set the standard in coming forward in a very generous way."

The Music Generation has already been teaching 1,000 children in Donegal and hundreds more in Ballyfermot. The extended scheme will offer 200,000 euro a year over three years for projects.

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